|Image Source: https://hacklibraryschool.com/2014/01/29/pln/|
Over at Assorted Stuff, Tim makes his point about ambassadors and Ed Tech Boat Shows. The problem isn’t that these shows bring people together, giving them the opportunity to connect and learn, but rather, that it juxtaposes vendors into one large hall. Wait, you don’t see the problem?
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always felt my trips to ISTE were worth while, learning much during the time and always making or renewing some wonderful connections. And almost none of that came from visiting the “massive Expo Hall”. I expect that the same would be true if I was at the big events in London or Ontario right now.
But I find that it takes more and more work to find those professional benefits at these overly-large conferences. Considering the number of people I see spending hours in the vendor hall and flocking to the “Cracker Jack” sessions, along with the volume of social media posts about the “cool new” stuff, I’m not sure that’s happening at all for a large percentage of those tens of thousand attendees.
Imagine putting everyone who’s trying to “sell you” on their idea in one big room, saving you the trouble of having to walk all over the place. That seems like an advantage to me. The real benefit is the implicit invitation.
An invitation to connect and learn with others. Bringing many perspectives and voices into one physical space. While social media does get a lot of the work done, the physical experience of being in the room with awesome folks…well, that’s worth the price of admission.
Unconference, edcamp, boat show conference, accept the invitation to connect. You may only find one or two connections, but it’s meeting up with the person you need to learn from at the moment you need it.
In regards to ambassadors and transparency, I never have trouble figuring out who the Seesaw, Microsoft, Google, Flipgrid, you name it ambassadors are. They often speak right up and tell me. What’s so difficult? To the best of my knowledge, those ambassadorships don’t pay a cent. And, who’s going to fault an enterprising teacher from monetizing her blog and expertise won through experience?